Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Dazzling Sky and Blueberries in My Wine

Blueberries in my Wine 03

Blueberries in my Wine 01

Sky! 02

sky! 01

Sky! 03

A glass of wine with a wild Maine blueberry, or two, and an evening sky that looks like a canvass of vivid color. The palette changes from minute to minute...and I want to hold every minute close and never let it go.

We will soon be traveling south to meet up with JCB and her gentleman for a few days. Joy!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Boat Dog

The Lab in the Whaler

Photo taken this summer from Dennett's Wharf in Castine, Maine.

Some of Maine's iconic images are lighthouses, lobster boats, crashing surf on rock ledge, wild blueberries. lupine in June, sparkling white houses in seaside villages and the boat dog...particularly a yellow Lab on the bow of a Boston Whaler. I've always wanted a boat dog!

Cooper on the Dock Boat Dog!

Since our homecoming, we've nurtured and raised three dogs from puppyhood to the last tearful goodbye. All three hated boats with a passion...until Cooper, the gentleman's mini-dachshund we adopted last December. We let him find his own way along the shore in the beginning. Seaweed, smells, shells, the taste of salt water and slippery rocks were novel sensations. He scampered up the bank full throttle the first time a wave splashed his paws one early spring day. He soon grew bolder with each excursion outside. In time, Cooper clattered up and down the dock in a heroic effort to keep up with the children. When Cooper started jumping in the dinghies, we knew he was ready. We had a boat dog!

Island Dog

Ears flying, Cooper explores rock ledge on a small Maine island. It's a whole new world waiting to be discovered by boat!

So Little...

He looks so small on his little island kingdom!

No, we're not friends!

...and there are strange inhabitants!

Boat Rescue

While we were less than thrilled during a recent boat rescue when our motor died, a jubilant Cooper is clearly in his element...actually grinning with happiness! Now, when we say "boat" a streaking wiener dog races to the dock!

This post is for our dearest friends, "the Butters", a constant inspiration and who have always had a boat dog!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Summer's End

The White Chair

Our small summer colony is drifting away, one by one, leaving unmistakable signs of the season's end. It begins with the children who are bundled into the car with their parents, heading home, for a new school year. When the goldenrod first appears, I know it is six weeks til frost and slowly, but surely, the days are growing shorter. The sun sets a full two hours earlier than it did in June. Candles twinkle in the cottage when the afterglow dims. It's cozy and quiet; I call this time our contraband days.

In the photo above, the view through the window reveals a glimpse of a solitary white chair. The occupants are gone, leaving only the wash of afternoon sun.

Shadow Paint

New shadows appear on the cottage clapboard as the sun's angle shifts across the water and through the trees.

September Color

The color of autumn on a walk around the point.

Summer's End

A lazy late summer's day on a cottage porch.

Leave Parents at Home

...and a little cottager humor!

High Tech Boat Cleaner

Photo included for my friends, Lib and Kath, as dinghies are hauled, scrubbed and readied for winter.

Take Me with You

The dogs know all the signs of departure. Some whine and prance excitedly, tails wagging, their sharp barks piercing the air. Others, like this old Lab wait patiently, hoping not to be forgotten.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Chebeague Island Inn ~ in Black and White

Old Lab 01

I always think of Maine in color, except for the bleakest winter months. Every season has a distinct palette and angle of light and the subtle variations can take your breath away. The warm wood tones inside the Chebeague Inn are beautiful, glowing on the day we visit, from sunlight that spills through the oversize windows and doors. Strangely, the rooms translate to black and white in my mind, Perhaps it is the timeless atmosphere and the quiet leisurely activity within.

I notice a very old Lab lounging on the spacious, wicker furnished porch. He never glances our way and I suppose he has already seen too many people pass through the inn doors to bother with a greeting the way a younger dog would.

Chebeague Island Inn 03

Light pours through the door and lovely fan window illuminating some of the reception area details. I don't use a flash because it will burn out the inky shadow that I like so much, but it makes the image less clear.

Girl on a Laptop

A young girl stares intently at her laptop, the only nod to the present in the room. The scene is back lighted from sunshine streaming through the large windows. There is even a suggestion of the view beyond.

Chebeague Island Inn 02

Perhaps an overflow dining room? I'm pleased it is not in use so I could photograph the shadows on the outside stairs and the twinkle of light on the stemmed glasses.

Old Lab 02

The old Lab walks through the door looking for a place to ease the aches and twinges of age. As he does so, the light outlines his frailty and even the tumor on his side. They all get them eventually. The Labs' fate, in black and white.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Weather Change on Chebeague Island

Chebeaque Island Dock

Chebeague, located ten miles from Portland, is the largest unconnected island in Casco Bay. It has always been a popular destination for Mere point cottagers who love to lunch in the rambling 1920s restored Inn...an experience that makes one feel as if you have taken a step back in history. It's a half hour trip in a fast boat through pristine water passing a beautiful string of islands. A call ahead will reserve a mooring and a launch swiftly arrives to ferry you to shore. Naturally, the weather is a crucial consideration!

Chebeague Island 01

I never can rely on light conditions when I set out on a particular destination in Maine and our trip to Chebeague was the perfect example. The sky was a brilliant blue when our boat reached the Chebeague Island dock. It was the kind of day we dream of all winter, but rather boring from a photographer's point of view.

Chebeague Island Inn

This shot was taken on the pleasant walk to the Inn, far in the distance. A carpet of green gently rolls toward the shore. The sun was directly overhead, so the eye is assaulted by primary colors. It was less than ideal shooting, but in Maine, one never knows what to expect next. Trips to Chebeague are rare because unexpected fog banks have a nasty way of blotting out familiar landmarks on the trip over; boaters plan carefully! I continued to shoot thinking that, at the very least, I would have a record of a delightful excursion with friends.

View From the Chebeague Island Inn

Time passed quickly over a lunch of oysters and champagne and afterward, we lingered on the wide porch to enjoy the spectacular view. A stream of clouds was just visible far beyond the dock and boat moorings.

Chebeague Island Inn 04

A front rapidly moved toward Chebeague and changed the landscape dramatically as we walked back to the dock to board the boat. I knew the ride home would be choppy as the views through my lens went from pretty to thrilling in mere minutes.

Chebeague Island Dock

Leaving Chebeague 02

Shot from the boat moments before zipping my camera safely away in its case. A beautiful slice of blue sky outlined the island and dwindling light highlighted the strip of shoreline.

That old oft-repeated line came to mind..."if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes."

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Trip Home

The Captain's View

I've been so absorbed by activity on the Sea Swallow that it is only after the lobsters are banded and the captain and his sternman tidy up the gear, that I take a moment to appreciate the scenery around us. Even though it is a gray and overcast day, the harbor is beautiful and there are many boats on the water. I love this view of the schooner through the captain's salt-spray spattered window.

View from the Sea

An interesting contrast of a motor boat with its powerful wake and the schooner in the distance.

The Trip Home

One of the sights in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.

Sailboat Reflections

Sailboats on their moorings come into view as we approach the dock to disembark.

Picturesque Boothbay Harbor, Maine

Boothbay Harbor looking like a doll's village from the water.

Southport Island, Maine

The next best thing after catching lobsters is eating them, so we return to an old favorite haunt, Robinson's Wharf on Southport Island. I strike a deal with the birthday boy who has persuaded me to trade my claws for his lobster tail. It was only last summer when he took his first suspicious bite! We all tuck into a pile of steamers.

This is the view from Robinson's wharf.

Messy (happy!)

...and finally, dessert at the Roundtop Creamery in Damariscotta, Maine caps an unforgettable day.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Last Bloom

Last Bloom

Hardy rugosa clings to rock ledge on a small Maine island.

In memory of all those who perished, September 11, 2001.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Out Lobsterin' #3

Captain Clive

Captain Clive; all round great personality and right out of central casting!

How to Indentify a Female Lobster

The Captain explains how to identify a female lobster (the little feathery bits on her undercarriage.) We also discuss crippling regulations and competitive lobster fishing practices. He quickly warms up to the subject of a fisherman setting his traps on top of his. The Captain will give three warnings before he cuts the offending line.

Baby Lobster

Another trap is hauled into the boat and we find a baby lobster. It's already had a scrape, or two, because the tiny crustacean is missing a claw. It will grow back.

Too Small!

Disappointment! Captain Clive tosses an under size lobster back into the water.

Banding Lobster Claws

Cage shows the children how to band a lobster claw and they all practice. Naturally, they want to know if Cage has ever experienced that notorious pinch. "Yes!" and he has scars to prove it. He goes on to say, "if they grab on to your hand, don't shake 'em cause they won't let go. Let 'em hang real still and they'll drop right off." I honestly wonder if I could do that..."let 'em hang real still."

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Out Lobsterin #2

Green and White

Every lobster/man/woman's buoys have a distinct color. My favorites are the pink and white buoys I see from time to time while out on our boat!

Bait Bags

Cage fills the bait bags to replace the empties as the traps are hauled in. We ask if he's seen more women working on the boats in recent years. "Yeah, there are some cute ones, I go stupid when I see 'em."

Baited Lobster Trap
Baited lobstertrap

Over it Goes!

Trap after trap is emptied of its catch. Fresh bait is added and Cage slides the traps to the stern and into the water again. The motion is smooth and very fast and this is the moment you do not want to get caught up in the line that connects the traps.

Baiting the Lobster Traps
What have we caught here?

Measuring the Carapace.

Captain Clive measures the carapace. Lobster fishing is highly regulated and there is a small margin of "keepers." Over and undersized lobsters are quickly tossed back into the water.

More to follow!

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